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Serving for the Season: Amy Chaplin's Warm Farro Salad and Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

The third of five holiday recipes from farmers, chefs, and food writers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last Chance Foods asked five guests from 2010 to share the recipes they'll be serving to their families over the holidays.

Chef Amy Chaplin formerly worked at Angelica Kitchen and currently works as a private chef. She regularly blogs about local food at Coconut and Quinoa. Chaplin's also a regular on Last Chance Foods, and this year, she weighed in on ground cherries, spoke in depth on the edible weed purslane and shared a garlicy (and delicious) recipe for turnip paté.

For the holidays, Chaplin recommends dishing up her healthy and filling farro salad. Add some zing to it with spicy toasted pumpkin seeds, which are also good as a snack on their own.

Warm Farro Roasted Squash Salad with Feta and Reduced Balsamic Vinegar over Wilted Chard Farro is the Italian name for emmer, an ancient heirloom wheat with a similar gluten content to spelt. It was a daily staple of the ancient Egyptian diet and a dominant crop in the Middle East dating back to 7000 B.C. What I love most about this salad is how it’s easily adapted to all seasons. Roast any vegetables that you have on hand and toss with the chickpea farro mixture. It’s also delicious served over spicy arugula, mustard greens, radicchio or baby spinach instead of the wilted chard. If you can’t find farro, use spelt berries or wheat berries instead, just increase the cooking time by about an hour. Serves 4.

  • ¼ medium kabocha squash, cut in ¼ inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup whole farro, soaked overnight in filtered water
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard, leaves removed
  • 6 oz goat milk feta
  • 2 tablespoons spiced pumpkin seeds, see recipe below
  • 4 teaspoons reduced balsamic vinegar, see recipe below

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place squash, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss well to combine. Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove from oven when they are beginning to brown. Set aside.

Drain farro, place in a small saucepan with 3 cups of filtered water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain well and return to pot, add chickpeas, remaining tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and the roasted squash. Place saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring every couple of minutes while you wilt the chard.

Rinse chard leaves and place in a skillet over high heat, turning with tongs until leaves begin to wilt. Reduce heat to low and cover for one minute. Remove lid and stir until all leaves are deep green and wilted. Divide onto four plates and top with about ¾ cup farro mixture. Crumble feta on top, sprinkle each salad with pumpkin seeds and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of reduced balsamic vinegar.

Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine. Spread out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, stir and continue baking for another 4 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from tray.

Reduced balsamic vinegar

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar

Place vinegar in a small skillet and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Be careful not to burn it, it will also thicken when it cools.

Store in a jar at room temperature.

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